Last Fall, Clarkston FC finished undefeated to claim the State Division II Championship, earning their first berth at the highest level in their division. As a once in a lifetime experience, these players were granted an opportunity to represent Clarkston, a community in Atlanta, GA. Unlike other high-priced soccer clubs, these players had to earn their way to the Regionals Tournament.
With the help of local soccer podcasts: Home Before Dark, Unrelegated, Atlanta United Fan TV, Soccer Down Here, Siempre United and others the dream became a reality for these players. After months of fundraising for the Clarkston FC Team, these contributors helped raise a grand total of over $10,000.
The trip to South Carolina was successful because most of these players were able to experience something that they never had before, including traveling across the state, playing against other teams in a Regional Tournament, and gaining recognition from other high profile teams as well.
Soccer in the Streets’ School Program Manager, Garrick Dawson, was lucky enough to travel with the players to Greenville, SC.
“It is not every day that a group of refugees, all from different parts of the world, get to travel to showcase their skills at the regional level. Unlike many players who played in the President’s Cup, Clarkston FC has rarely traveled for tournaments, let alone stay in a hotel for one. You could tell this was a trip these kids had been waiting for months on end. The trip itself was a memory that the kids will never forget,” said Dawson.
At the tournament’s end, the Clarkston FC Team did not come home with the Championship Trophy, but they did learn valuable lessons on and off the field with the help of our sponsorship. Soccer in the Streets emphasizes the positive choice of soccer and serves to employ its five foundational pillars: Respect, Teamwork, Perseverance, Tolerance, and Sportsmanship.
Head Coach Abdul Bangura reflected on how gracious he is that everyone pitched in to make this dream come true for the players.
“Overall, it was an amazing experience for the boys and coaches. That was a lifetime experience for all of us. We interacted with a lot of people and made new friends,” said Abdul.
On the field, the players learned lessons about player development and discipline, and the tournament left them with room to grow as well.
“As a coach, I told them before going to Regionals that, there are better teams out there that can outplay us if we don’t stick to our game plan: stay disciplined and put the work in.”
The Regionals Trip for Clarkston FC was a once in a lifetime experience. The Clarkston FC team has grown over the years learning valuable lessons along the way. Soccer in the Streets thanks everyone for funding the trip and supporting the Clarkston FC team.